November 3: A Marijuana Milestone
Certain cultural indicators can’t be ignored. The other day on a television talk show, I saw rapper Snoop Dogg cracking jokes about marijuana with Martha Stewart.
No, it wasn’t a sign of the apocalypse. Stewart was on TV to plug her new line of cannabidiol (CBD) consumer products. Further evidence that marijuana has gone mainstream and the movement toward legalization is unstoppable.
Of course, until the federal ban on marijuana is lifted, we’ll continue to see a crazy quilt of differing state laws that govern weed. The overall national trend, though, is toward freer access to marijuana.
The November 3 election will prove a watershed for the marijuana industry, with a slew of normalization initiatives on the ballot. The industry is about to open several new markets, which explains why marijuana stocks have been rallying in recent weeks.
The ballot initiative is a means by which a petition signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can bring about a public vote on a proposed statute or constitutional amendment.
State ballot initiatives are increasingly popular for a wide range of legal goals. Twenty-six states have initiative and/or referendum processes at the statewide level. Washington, DC, also has initiative and referendum processes.
Under this form of grassroots democracy, citizens draft a proposed law and if they get enough signatures according to the requirements of their respective states, it goes on the ballot. Marijuana activists have been making ample use of this mechanism.
Here’s a roundup of what’s at stake for the marijuana industry in today’s nationwide voting:
Proposition 207 would allow adults 21 years and older to possess, consume or transfer up to one ounce of cannabis and create a regulatory system for the products’ cultivation and sale.
Initiative 65 would allow physicians to recommend medical cannabis for patients with any of 22 qualifying conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and post-traumatic stress disorder. The constitutional amendment would establish a regulatory program for businesses to grow and sell medical cannabis and for the products to be taxed at a 7% rate.
Initiative 65A, an alternative proposal, would limit the smoking of medical cannabis to people who are terminally ill, and would leave the future regulatory framework up to the legislature.
In a sign that pot prohibitionists in America haven’t given up, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) on Sunday criticized the medical marijuana measures on his state’s ballot. See the following tweet, in which he uses the rather outdated term “stoners”:
That said, anti-marijuana politicians are on the wrong side of public opinion. In Mississippi, the marijuana measures are popular.
The trend represents a significant cultural shift, because “red states” are socially conservative. But even in the heart of Old Dixie, voters are embracing weed.
Initiative 190 would allow adults in the state to possess, buy and use cannabis for recreational use and defined a 20% tax on recreational cannabis. It would also allow people serving a sentence for certain cannabis-related acts to apply for resentencing or records expungement.
Initiative 118 would amend the state’s constitution to establish 21 as the legal age to purchase, possess and consume cannabis.
Public Question No. 1 would amend the state constitution to legalize cannabis for personal, non-medical use by adults 21 and older. If the measure passes, the state commission that oversees the medical market would also regulate the personal market.
Public opinion polls show that most New Jersey voters approve of the measure. The chairman of New Jersey’s Senate Judiciary Committee said on Monday that he intends to file a bill to implement marijuana legalization as soon as two days after voters approve the state’s cannabis ballot referendum.
On the ballot are four local initiatives to decriminalize marijuana possession. Voters in Adena, Glouster, Jacksonville and Trimble will each see the reform measures on their ballots. If approved, they’ll join 18 other Ohio municipalities that have already enacted measures to lower penalties for misdemeanor cannabis possession.
Measure 26 would establish a medical cannabis program and registration system for people with qualifying conditions.
Amendment A would legalize cannabis for all adults and require state legislators to adopt medical cannabis and hemp laws.
As this historic election cycle shows, the mainstreaming of marijuana enjoys powerful tailwinds. New laws that lift pot restrictions result in new markets for cannabusinesses.
We’ve scoured the cannabis industry for the best stocks with the greatest upside potential. Click here for our special report on “marijuana payouts.”
John Persinos is the editor-in-chief of Marijuana Investing Daily.